When we go to school we learn many different subjects such as maths, English Language and Literature, Geography and History, to name but a few.
Then, after having passed our exams at school, we are busy in our jobs as apprentice, accountant, journalist etc.
We are motivated to apply 100% of what we have learned at school in our jobs, as precisely as possible. Nobody would ever attempt to change the maths or grammatical rules and then invent their own rules, because it wouldn’t not benefit anyone.
When taking driving lessons all our pupils are taught the rules about safety margins, the use of seatbelts, adhering to speed limits, drink driving regulations etc.
However, after passing their driving test and after becoming an unsupervised driver, the motivation to apply exactly what we have learned from our driving instructor is often considerably less than 100%, – as statistics show.
Now as an unsupervised driver, we are quite good at inventing our own rules about speed, safety margin, seat belt use and sometimes unfortunately, about alcohol, etc., because we convince ourselves that we are capable of driving just as safely with less safety margins, at increased speeds, without a seatbelt, after drinking (even small amounts), with a lack of sleep etc.
Changing the rules sometimes appears to be advantageous to us; our only problem seems to be not getting spotted by the police.
This is where coaching helps to encourage the correct beliefs and behaviour and helps to correct the wrong ones.
Coaching actually supports the driver’s motivation in applying safe behaviour and it becomes increasingly apparent how coaching makes a valid contribution to road safety
However, whilst Coaching makes a valuable contribution, it does not entirely replace traditional teaching methods; the methods are intended to complement each other.
At Tristar Driving, we use coaching to implement the criteria in the GDE-matrix, (Goals for Driver Education).
Using coaching techniques, we find that the column on the right, which concerns itself with the skills of self-evaluation, motives and beliefs, can be used on a daily basis for a pupil’s driving practice.
If we consider the information and issues on the higher levels of GDE, coaching techniques lead the way when compared to traditional teaching methods.
The essence of coaching is by eliciting information and feedback by asking and not by telling.
A main challenge in coaching is to lead the pupil from the passive role, where they simply sit and listen to the instructions given by the instructor, to an active role where they feel central to the production of ideas and solutions.
The Coachee begins to develop a much deeper understanding – but this isn’t entirely due the coach’s efforts but rather because he has increased his own awareness, encouraged and stimulated by the methods used by his coach.
It sometime seems that coaching takes longer to implement than the traditional telling method.
However, with coaching, the coachee has more active involvement in the learning process and accordingly, is better able to recognise and act on the learning opportunities.
The coachee is able to demonstrate an increased awareness, as we challenge opinions and beliefs, in order to stimulate a more rational thought process and eliminate those negative external influences that often provide distractions for the young driver.
An example of negative influences could be members of the driver’s peer-group who may be passengers in the car. They could provide a distraction by perhaps encouraging the driver to speed up or take unnecessary risks when driving home from a night out.
If however, the young driver has an increased awareness about such situations i.e. Risk-taking, he will behave in a more considerate and sensible manner and he would be less likely to behave in a reckless or irresponsible manner.